Local News

Authorities Seek To Scratch Off Lottery Ticket Thieves

Posted August 16, 2006

— Two thieves thought they hit the jackpot last week when they stole hundreds of dollars in North Carolina lottery tickets. But authorities are hoping security videos will scratch the pair off their wanted list.

A man and a woman snatched an entire rack of scratch-off tickets from the New Dixie Mart, off Exit 168 of Interstate 95, shortly after midnight Friday, authorities said. The theft was caught on tape by a security camera.

Authorities estimated as many as 2,100 of the $1 scratch-off tickets were in the rack when it was stolen.

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"This is one of the only times I think we've had someone in our county to come in and take the whole rack," Halifax County Sheriff Jeff Frazier said.

Another security camera at a convenience store near the Nash County town of Gold Rock later caught the same couple on tape trying to cash in some of the stolen tickets.

"They came in and made a purchase, they scratched, then handed a handful to this clerk, probably an attempt to mask the stolen tickets from the Halifax Exxon," said Maj. Wes Tripp of the Halifax County Sheriff's Office.

The couple collected some winnings, but the state lottery commission quickly voided the other stolen tickets so they would not pay out if the thieves tried to cash in at other stores.

"(They're) absolutely no good, and when they came up in a machine used, it shows it," Frazier said.

Authorities hope publicizing the security camera footage will help them identify and capture the lottery ticket thieves.

Halifax County Crimestoppers has offered a cash reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest of the two suspects. The organization can be reached at 252-583-4444.

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